By Robert Frank
Ste. Anne de Bellevue mayoral candidate Paul Chablo told The Suburban in an interview this week that he welcomed last week’s report clarifying his own involvement in the real estate sector.
“What happened was that all types of slander and mudslinging stopped completely, thanks to that article,” he said. “It was extremely constructive and fair and brought the focus back to the issues.”
Chablo reiterated his intent to consider legal action against opponents whom he believes maligned him during the election campaign, once the ballots have been counted, Nov. 3.
“My lawyer has [provided a document illustrating] what is criminal defamation and what is civil defamation,” he said. “I will continue to see if I have grounds, after the election is over.”
“I’m entitled as a candidate to a free and clear election campaign,” Chablo asserted, “free of slander and blasphemy. Everyone is basically concerned more about local issues in each district.”
“That kind of politics sucks,” objected Ste. Anne resident Alex Csank. “If people who criticize Chablo’s policies don’t feel comfortable doing so, that sort of intimidation is bad,” said the retired Royal Canadian Navy lieutenant-commander, who served with the United Nations in Cambodia.
“This has become way too heated now, and, given this type of rhetoric from the candidate in question, it would seem that it has become too risky a proposition for an ordinary citizen such as myself to be part of this specific discussion any longer,” another Ste. Anne resident, John Miller-Thomson posted on Facebook. “One has to think of one’s family and loved ones and of the risks one could be exposing them to in continuing to participate in these forums any longer.”
“If this is the reaction Mr. Chablo was hoping to get, I hope he’s satisfied with himself,” Miller-Thomson concluded. “Whether or not I am or ever was in your crosshairs, Paul, you win. I’m out. Consider me effectively muzzled.”
Chris Price, the moderator of the Ste. Anne de Bellevue Facebook page where much of the debate transpired, pointed out that Quebec is one of the few jurisdictions in North America to have passed a law prohibiting lawsuits aimed at silencing political activism.
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